Will the Church Survive in an Automated World?

When I speak to pastors about emerging technology I often ask them to envision a single scenario. I suggest that they imagine that they are standing in their pulpit on Sunday morning, looking out on the faces of their congregants, only to discover that half of their congregation is suddenly unemployed. There is a single technological development on the horizon that threatens to make this imagined scenario a reality. The technology is automation.

The Problem

In 2013 an Oxford Study indicated that up to one half of all jobs in the United States are at risk of being fully automated in the next 20 years. More recently, the McKinsey Global Institute posited a lesser number; that up to one-fifth of the global workforce will be affected by 2030. That study suggests that up to one-third of the workforce in richer nations like the United States and Germany will be replaced.

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